We are planning to go travelling around Europe from July to November this year. As my partner is Canadian, we have been looking at ways to do this but I just want to check if this will be allowed…

We went to Copenhagen for 4 days on March 25th to start the 180 days. We then left the zone and are planning to return on the July 5th for a further 80 days. We then plan on going to eastern Europe for two weeks outside the Schengen zone, which then completes the 180 day cycle.

Would they then let us return to the Schengen area to start the 180 day process from the start to continue our travels?

  • Welcome to the site. Questions about the time allowed in the Schengen zone are quite common and because of that we have one that should answer all your points. (The site does not want duplicate questions.) You can find that question when you follow the link in the other comment. – Willeke Apr 29 '18 at 9:20
  • After being present for 80 consecutive days, you can reenter for up to 10 days if your date of re-entry is within 90 days of your departure. If you enter on the 91st day or later, you can enter for up to 90 consecutive days. So when you stay from 5 July through 22 September, you can only come back for longer than 10 days if you come back on or after 22 December. However, if you are an EU citizen, depending on the nature of your partnership, your partner might be able to benefit from freedom of movement when traveling with you. In that case, there is no 90-day limit. – phoog Apr 29 '18 at 17:08
  • From the comments, the question you should ask is "I am a British citizen living in the UK together with my Canadian partner. We are not married. What are the ways to travel together through the rest of the EU for more than 90 days out of 180, and what are the legal pitfalls to avoid?" For example you could become a resident in another EU country, but that's not what you are trying to do, right? – o.m. Apr 30 '18 at 15:35

In short, each day in the Schengen zone you are allowed to have been there 90 days in the last 180 days, including the day you are. It is a rolling system, not sharp edged periods of time.
So when you return from Eastern Europe your first days in the Schengen zone will have rolled out of the 180 days window, but the 80 days starting in June will not. Or at least not all of them.

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Consider this thought experiment. Of course it is not practical to actually do this every morning, but I'm trying to explain the principle.

  • Take a wall calendar with one square for each day. For today and the 179 preceding days, mark the day with a cross if you had been within Schengen and with a slash if you had been outside. If you haven't been to Schengen lately, that's easy, just 180 slashes from today backwards.
  • Each morning as you wake up, you mark the new day with a cross if you are within Schengen and with a slash if you are outside, and you erase the oldest symbol. (That means there are always 180 unerased symbols left.)
  • Then you count only the crosses. If there are 90 of them, you must leave the Schengen area before midnight unless the oldest symbol is a cross (because then you will erase that old cross tomorrow morning when you add a new one and get 90 crosses again).
  • Repeat each morning. That's the key thing. Every single day, the check is "no more than 90 days from the previous 180 in Schengen."

There are some exceptions to this which allow longer stays, notably for holders of a D long-stay visa, and also "grandfathered" bilateral treaties between Canada and individual Schengen nations. For instance, you can spend days beyond 90 in Denmark, but days in Denmark early in the trip do count against those 90 days as far as other Schengen countries are concerned.

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  • @Willeke, thanks, but it is a principle, not a practical counter. Otherwise I would have to explain little things like pasting multiple year calendars end to end. And usually it is impractical to book flights on one day's notice :-) – o.m. Apr 29 '18 at 13:51
  • Thanks for your reply. My canadian partner is currently on a grant of leave to remain, five year partner route visa and has a biometric residence permit. Do the Shengen travel rules still apply to her if she is travelling with me? – Stephen watson Apr 29 '18 at 21:05
  • @Stephenwatson are you a citizen of an EU or EEA member country? If so, is your partnership registered officially? – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 3:19
  • @Stephenwatson, where does your partner have a leave to remain? That sounds British, but it might be a translation issue. – o.m. Apr 30 '18 at 4:34
  • I'm a British citizen, and her leave to remain is in the uk (through the partner/spouse visa route) so this could mean our partnership is registered officially? – Stephen watson Apr 30 '18 at 6:16

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